NASA Highlights Climate Research on Cargo Launch, Sets Coverage

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle is pictured docked to the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter. (Credit: NASA TV)

NASA Mission Update

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 8:44 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 14, to launch the agency’s next investigation to monitor climate change to the International Space Station. The mission, NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT), will fly aboard SpaceX’s 25th commercial resupply services mission to the orbital laboratory.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to deliver new science investigations, supplies, and equipment for the international crew, including a new climate research investigation.

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NASA Leadership to Advocate for Agency Missions at ESA Council Meeting

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy visited the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans on Dec. 8, 2021 for tours and briefings on Michoud’s role in the Artemis program and other capabilities that enrich many facets of the nation’s space exploration endeavors. (Credits: NASA/Michael DeMocker)

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy will travel to Noordwijk, Netherlands, to participate in the ESA (European Space Agency) Council Meeting on Wednesday, June 15.

The event will be livestreamed at:

https://esawebtv.esa.int

ESA is one of NASA’s key partners in science and exploration. Nelson and Melroy will address the heads of delegation from the 22 agencies that comprise ESA and advocate for continued, robust funding for NASA-ESA collaboration for the next three to five years, including for Artemis, Mars Sample Return, and Earth science missions.

At the ESA Council, NASA and ESA will also sign two agreements: a strategic partnership in Earth science and a memorandum of understanding between the two agencies on the Lunar Pathfinder mission.

NASA Administrator Statement on President’s FY 2023 Budget Request

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The President’s fiscal year 2023 budget would allow NASA to sustain America’s global innovation leadership and keep NASA at the forefront of exploration and discovery by returning to the Moon with the Artemis program, among other efforts. This budget would enable NASA to address climate change, drive economic growth, and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

The Biden-Harris Administration Monday submitted to Congress President Biden’s budget for fiscal year 2023. The President’s budget details his vision to expand on the historic progress our country has made over the last year and deliver the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address – to build a better America, reduce the deficit, reduce costs for families, and grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out. 

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Thawing Permafrost Could Leach Microbes, Chemicals Into Environment

Thawing permafrost can result in the loss of terrain, as seen in this image where part of the coastal bluff along Drew Point, Alaska, has collapsed into the ocean. (Credits: Benjamin Jones, USGS)

Scientists are turning to a combination of data collected from the air, land, and space to get a more complete picture of how climate change is affecting the planet’s frozen regions.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Trapped within Earth’s permafrost – ground that remains frozen for a minimum of two years – are untold quantities of greenhouse gases, microbes, and chemicals, including the now-banned pesticide DDT. As the planet warms, permafrost is thawing at an increasing rate, and scientists face a host of uncertainties when trying to determine the potential effects of the thaw.

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NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

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House Infrastructure Bill Includes $173 Million to Improve Space Weather Forecasting

An artist’s rendering of the Space Weather Follow-on L1 satellite. (Credit: NOAA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The House Science Committee approved an infrastructure bill that provides an additional $173 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to accelerate the development and launch of the Space Weather Follow-On Lagrange-1 (SWFO-L1) mission. The spacecraft, scheduled for launch in 2024, will monitor the solar wind and coronal mass ejections from the Earth-sun L-1 Lagrange point.

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NASA Science Budget Request Fact Sheet

Europa Clipper in orbit around Europa. (Credit: NASA)

NASA FACT SHEET
FY 2022 Budget Request
Science
($ Millions)

NASA’s Science budget, managed by the Science Mission Directorate, includes five major science areas as well as the James Webb Space Telescope which is funded separately from Astrophysics. These areas include:

  • Earth Science to enhance understanding of Earth systems and to observe the effects of climate change. The Budget invests heavily in climate and applications research, begins formulation of the first four Designated Observable missions, and initiates the Earth System Explorers program (consistent with Decadal Survey recommendations). The Budget also supports the ongoing development of the Earth System Observatory including PACE, CLARREO Pathfinder, NISAR, SWOT, and Landsat 9.
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New NASA Earth System Observatory to Help Address, Mitigate Climate Change

NOAA-12 image of Hurricane Emily in 1993. (Credit: NOAA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will design a new set of Earth-focused missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, fighting forest fires, and improving real-time agricultural processes. With the Earth System Observatory, each satellite will be uniquely designed to complement the others, working in tandem to create a 3D, holistic view of Earth, from bedrock to atmosphere.

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NASA Awards Raytheon $275 Million Contract for Earth Science Data and Information System

GOES-16 full disk GeoColor image from October 16, 2019. GeoColor is an RGB that approximates what the human eye would see from space. (Credit: NOAA/CIRA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded the Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Evolution and Development (EED)-3 contract to Raytheon Company of Riverdale, Maryland.

The maximum ordering value of this cost-plus-award-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity task order contract is $275 million. The contract has a five-year ordering period from the effective date of the contract.

The purpose of this contract is to acquire services for the continued improvement, reliability, availability, functionality, operability, and performance of hardware, software, and cloud-based systems within the EOSDIS that provide science data management for the Earth Science Data and Information System Project within the Earth Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. A major activity under this contract will be the evolution and development engineering of several on-premises and commercial cloud-based systems.

The principal work will be performed primarily at the contractor’s facility in Riverdale, Maryland.

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/

How Scientists Are Using the International Space Station to Study Earth’s Climate

Taken by NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, this picture shows Earth’s limb, or horizon, from the International Space Station as it orbits above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — On Earth, we often look toward the sky longing to know what resides in the rest of the universe. Meanwhile, 250 miles above our planet, the  International Space Station is looking back.

Above us, multiple Earth-observing instruments are mounted on the exterior of several of the station’s modules, including a limb full of cameras, boxes, and tools that hangs off the edge of the station’s Japanese Experiment Module (JEM). Earth-observing CubeSats regularly deploy from the station’s airlock. Astronauts take photos of the planet from the orbiting lab’s windows. This outpost even conducts Earth science experiments. All of this work provides insight into the climate of our home and how we might prepare for coming changes.

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NASA Joins White House National Climate Task Force

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — As a leading agency observing and understanding environmental changes to Earth, NASA has joined the National Climate Task Force. President Joe Biden issued an executive order Jan. 27, which initially outlined details of the task force.

The administration’s climate agenda outlines putting climate at the center of the country’s foreign policy and national security and encourages a governmentwide approach to climate change.

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NASA, NSF Sign Agreement to Advance Space, Earth, Biological, Physical Sciences

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and the U.S. National Science Foundation  (NSF) have signed a  memorandum of understanding affirming the agencies’ intent to continue their longstanding partnership in mutually beneficial research activities advancing space, Earth, biological, and physical sciences to further U.S. national space policy and promote the progress of science.

The agreement addresses a broad range of research and activities in many areas of science, engineering, and education central to the missions of both agencies.

“When you look at the vast array of disciplines that make up NASA’s mission, there isn’t a single one that isn’t somehow informed by our partnership with NSF,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We look forward to continued collaboration on areas of research here on Earth and in space – including aboard the International Space Station – as well as inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals.”

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NASA, US, European Partner Satellite Returns First Sea Level Measurements

The data in this graphic are the first sea surface height measurements from the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich (S6MF) satellite, which launched Nov. 21, 2020. They show the ocean off the southern tip of Africa, with red colors indicating higher sea level relative to blue areas, which are lower. (Credits: EUMETSAT)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, a joint U.S.-European satellite built to measure global sea surface height, has sent back its first measurements of sea level. The data provide information on sea surface height, wave height, and wind speed off the southern tip of Africa.

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Senate Appropriations Committee Sticks a Fork in NASA’s 2024 Moon Landing Plan

Artemis Gateway (Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It looks as if the Trump Administration’s goal of landing astronauts on the moon in 2024 is expiring at about the same time as the administration itself. The fatal blow is being struck by Congress, not the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has released a fiscal year 2021 funding bill that includes $1 billion for NASA to Human Landing System (HLS) that will take astronauts to and from the lunar surface as part of the Artemis program. The amount is far short of the $3.2 billion that NASA has said is needed for HLS to keep the 2024 landing on schedule.

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Bridenstine to Leave NASA Administrator Post

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In a decision that has disappointed his supporters, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine plans to leave his position even if president-elect Joe Biden asked him to stay.

Irene Klotz broke the news in Aviation Week. The story is behind a paywall, but Klotz did tweet:

“You need somebody who has a close relationship with the president of the U.S. … somebody trusted by the administration…. including OMB, National Space Council, National Security Council. I think I would not be the right person for that in a new administration –Bridenstine

Agency administrators usually change when a new president comes in, particularly if he is from a different party. Bridenstine is a former Republican Congressman from Oklahoma appointed by President Donald Trump, who was defeated by his Democratic opponent Biden last week.

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